2021 US Open Cup canceled – full schedule in place for 2022

Both Denton Diablos and Fort Worth Vaqueros had qualified via NPSL rankings, and NTX Rayados had further extended the record for most qualifications via the open division qualification for the ninth straight season before US Soccer postponed the 2020 Open Cup. A revised schedule was drawn up for 2021 that gave the three qualifiers virtually no chance of being selected within a far smaller field of 24 teams in a diluted competition. With only eight MLS teams due to be selected, two-time winners FC Dallas would also have potentially missed out on competing for the cup named after former owner Lamar Hunt.

“Selfishly, I can’t say that I’m not pleased that they’re not playing at all this year if it’s not going to be what the spirit and the ethos of the competition is,” said Denton Diablos owner Damon Gochneaur. “Which is a chance for teams at all levels to earn their way and earned their right to compete against the best United States teams professionally and amateur. I’m pleased to see that the committee and the Board of Directors and US Soccer made what I think is the right decision, in scrapping the 2021 Open Cup.”

Applications for the qualifying phase opened last week, meaning the three teams, as well as Dallas City in NPSL, and USL League Two’s Texas United, and DFW’s UPSL teams would need to go through differing procedures to make the 2022 tournament rather than being automatically put through as the plan was for 2021.

For the 2021 edition, ten USL League Two places were prioritized to divisional winners. With a yet to be determined number of places for the 2022 tournament, the divisional winners would again receive spots 1-11, while any further availability would see teams ranked nationally by points per game in the 2021 season. Texas United ranks 21st, 32nd overall.

Of the NPSL, 14 teams were due to take part in the 2020 edition of the Open Cup. NPSL decides its nominees by the playoffs with the eight national quarterfinalists prioritized. Any additional spots are awarded geographically and prorated by the number of teams in each region starting with the regions those eight teams had originated from.

Denton Diablos will likely qualify by virtue of being one of eight teams to reach the national quarterfinals – In Denton’s case, the West Region final. Fort Worth Vaqueros and Dallas City both finished last in their divisions, falling well short of the required position to make the 2022 US Open Cup.

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Denton Diablos owner Damon Gochneaur celebrates with the trophy after winning the NPSL Lonestar Conference Championship. (Daniel McCullough, Denton Diablos)

Four teams from the Metroplex contested the qualifying tournament in 2021. NTX Rayados of the NTPSA were joined by UPSL’s Lone Star Republic, Inocentes, and the now-defunct FC Fort Worth Soccer Club.

FC Dallas may see action early as one of the intended changes for the 2020 competition will come into effect in 2022. A number of MLS teams will enter in the third round based on previous season records. FC Dallas was set to be one of 11 teams to enter the third round in 2020 before the competition was canceled.

2022 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Competition Schedule

Aug. 23 2021Matchups for first qualifying round announced
Sep. 18-19First qualifying round
Oct. 16-17Second qualifying round
Nov. 20-21Third qualifying round
Dec. 18-19Fourth qualifying round (if needed)
Jan. 6 2022Open Division berth allocation announced
Jan. 19First round pairings announced
Mar. 22-23First round
Apr. 5-7Second round
Apr. 19-21Third round
May 10-11Round of 32
May 24-25Round of 16
Jun. 21-22Quarterfinals
Jul. 26-27Semifinals
Sep. 6-7 or 13-14Final

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